Heritage, Archaeology, and Identity – LHHTA 2016

Hi! My name is Rebecca Renteria, and this summer I am working with the Linking Hispanic Heritage Through Archaeology (LHHTA) program in Tucson, Arizona. One of the many goals of this program is to introduce high school students to the outdoors through visits to national parks and other regional resources. I began work with this program during the spring semester of my first year of grad school. I am a student at the University of Arizona in the School of Anthropology working towards a master’s degree in Applied Archaeology. I am also a student at the Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research. cab

Taking dendroarchaeological samples from a historic cabin in New Mexico

Until this point I had done some work in the community here using gardening and environmental and science education, but I had not yet come across an opportunity to combine archaeology with local heritage and communities. This opportunity with LHHTA hit home more than ever since Tucson is the place I was born and raised. I also took this to be one of my best opportunities to be able to be a representative of an ethnic group that is still relatively underrepresented in archaeology in the United States. Our history is very much alive, and because of this it lends itself so well to the field of archaeology and working with living communities. During the semester (February through May), as partners with the National Park Service, we took students to regional national park units like Casa Grande National Monument, Montezuma Castle National Monument, Saguaro National Park, and Tuzigoot National Monument. We were also provided with funding to equip our students and educators with iPads to record, document, and present their experiences throughout the program. IMG_5492

Rene and Rosalie hiking out from Montezuma Well with their iPads

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Group shot at Montezuma Castle National Monument

  We also partnered with the University of Arizona and introduced students to university life by taking them to archaeology related labs around campus. These labs included radiocarbon/AMS, zooarchaeology, southwest ceramics, bioarchaeology, and the repository at the Arizona State Museum. IMG_4948

Crystal, Stacey, and Sammy working with University of Arizona grad student Nicole to reconstruct faunal remains

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Lessons learned during zooarchaeology lab

Other local organizations we worked with were the Arizona Historical Society, Mission Garden, and Presidio San Agustin del Tucson. IMG_5792

Emerry and Raymond constructing agave terraces with archaeologist and professor Dr. Paul Fish at Mission Garden

  At the start of the Latino Heritage Internship Program (LHIP) I had some experience coordinating events for LHHTA but still had yet to understand the scope at which our program fit into work being done nationwide. To be able to continue work with LHHTA this summer through LHIP has been such a crucial experience to understand how programs like this are the foundations of empowering communities that have not yet been given that chance, yet in turn, allowing these communities to have an educated say in local, regional, and national legislation. I cannot begin to express my gratitude for the experience to be able to gain knowledge through LHIP and the connections made across the country. These connections have been so necessary to reassure myself (and maybe others) that while we interns do not get to see each other every day, we are all striving for similar goals. Just knowing this has inspired and motivated me to work hard for a program that is part of a wonderful, bigger picture. I am looking forward to sharing my summer experiences with LHHTA and the bigger picture.

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